East Medford winery wants more production and bigger market share.
RoxyAnn Winery winemaker John Quinones will leave his position on Labor Day.
Kent Barthman, a private wine consultant for the past seven years, will succeed Quinones, who has been on the job since the start of 2009. Quinones said he plans to work on a pair of projects with grape growers off Bellinger Lane between Medford and Jacksonville.
RoxyAnn owner and manager Chad Day plans on expanding the east Medford winery and vineyard's market share. As a result, he and Barthman will spend a lot more time on the road seeking new markets, he said.
"The biggest obstacle over the last four or five years has been the economy," Day said. "Wine sales were flat from 2008 through 2012. We have had to carefully manage our wine inventory to make sure that we don’t overproduce and cause a backlog of older vintages. In fact, the last couple of vintages I have decreased our case production to help catch up from overproducing in 2008 and 2009. We are seeing that consumers now have more discretionary income and sales are up over previous years."
Marketing trips, however, aren't what Quinones had in mind.
"I’ve been there and done that," Quinones said. "I'm settled in. RoxyAnn is growing and there is an increasing need for (travel and marketing), but I’m kind of late in my career. I wanted to focus on winemaking."
During his tenure, the local wine industry went from blossoming to burgeoning.
"When I first moved here in 2009, there were 32 wineries and now there are 100 brands in Southern Oregon," he said. "It's certainly an up-and-coming region – it's on its way."
RoxyAnn harvested 314 tons of grapes, or enough for about 20,500 cases, last year. But Day said only 15,000 cases are planned from the 2013 crop.
"John played a crucial role with our vineyard and winery team that has met and exceeded our expectations for production in the vineyard," Day said. "The fact that the vineyard is producing more than the winery needs, puts us in a very good place financially come January and February, the slow time of the year."
What grapes or juice RoxyAnn doesn't use is sold to other wineries, he said. "My goals for the winery involve growing the business from our current state of being a 15,000-cases winery to 30,000 cases over the next 10 years."
Day said he respected Quinones' perspective and interests.
"He has taken RoxyAnn to a whole new level, and will be leaving us in a truly stronger position.”
Barthman, who earned chemical science and microbiology degrees at Chico State, joins RoxyAnn on Aug. 18.
He has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, including time with Rutherford Hill and Far Niente. Most recently, Barthman has been consulting with a few smaller wineries in the Napa-Sonoma area as well as a winery in Eger, Hungary.
RoxyAnn’s vineyard was planted in 1997 and its inaugural 2001 vintage was made off site. The winery opened in 2002 and its tasting room opened in 2003 — the year winemaker Gus Janeway stepped in for Sarah Powell, who died of cancer in 2004.
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.